COVID-19 on the upswing and influenza becoming prevalent according to provincial report

Graphic courtesy HFCM Communicatie, via Wikimedia This is a representation of what the Covid-19 virus would look like under a powerful microscope.

According to the province’s bi-weekly respiratory illness surveillance report, COVID-19 has increased in Saskatchewan.

The reporting period was from Oct. 22 to Nov. 4. The report was released on Nov. 10.

COVID-19 increased from 396 positive tests in the week ending October 28 to 442 positive tests this week. Test positivity for the most recent surveillance week was 15.7 per cent compared to 17.1 per cent for the preceding week

The number of positive tests for COVID-19 increased from 396 in the week ending October 28 to 442 in the most recent week.

COVID-19 cases were highest in the 65+ years age group (47.7 per cent), followed by the 20 to 64 group (42.2 per cent).

In July, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) took over wastewater data from the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina.

Current weekly wastewater surveillance data indicate an upward trend in COVID-19 signals across all the surveilled areas of the province, including Regina and Saskatoon, except for the Central East area

Test positivity for COVID-19 in the North Central region was 9.4 per cent. For influenza, test positivity was 39.3 per cent.

These are only lab-confirmed cases and not rapid antigen test-confirmed cases.

The province warns that rates should be interpreted with caution because they do not include cases detected by home rapid-antigen test kits.

In the last two weeks, two deaths associated with COVID-19 were reported. It is not known how many deaths occurred in North Central over this period.

The report shows there are currently 117 hospital admissions and seven ICU admissions.

COVID-19 hospitalizations dropped from 244 for the previous two weeks to 237 during the most recent two weeks. COVID-19 ICU admissions have remained stable at 21 for the previous two weeks to 20 for the most recent two weeks.

The proportion of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients increased to 7.7 per cent for the most recent week.

There were 40 COVID-19 outbreaks reported in a high-risk setting in the past two week compared to 23 in the previous two-week period.

Of those aged six months and older, 12.1 per cent have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine on or after September 18. For those under age 65 years, all the zones have less than 10 per cent coverage. For those 65 years and older, all zones except for Central West (40.8 per cent) and Regina (40.9 per cent) have less than 40 per cent coverage.

Influenza is also starting to become more prevalent in the province.

Influenza positivity increased over the past two weeks from 42 to 166 positive lab detections with a test positivity of 14.6 per cent surpassing a two per cent threshold indicate the start of the influenza season. InfluenzaType A accounted for 97.4 per cent of the positive detections this season.

Influenza and COVID-19 vaccines were available in Saskatchewan effective Oct. 10.

The report also included the school absenteeism data. School-absenteeism for the week ending November 4, 2023, increased to 13.1 per cent from 10 per cent the previous week.

As of Oct. 13, 2022, the Ministry of Health launched the community respiratory illness surveillance program (CRISP) report to integrate COVID-19 surveillance and reporting with provincial respiratory illness and surveillance reporting, including influenza.

The report standardizes the epidemiological information required for respiratory illness surveillance and risk management and will be issued bi-weekly during respiratory illness season.